On Tuesday, July 26, 2022, at the age of 62, Mary Beth Johnson passed away unexpectedly in her sleep.
Mary Beth was born on June 23, 1960, in Weimar, Texas, to Valeria Ann Farek Cooke and William Louis “Bill” Cooke. She grew up in Bloomington, Texas, and graduated from Bloomington High School in 1978. She attended Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University), graduating in 1982 with a degree in Business Administration.
Mary Beth began her career and her family in San Antonio, Texas, but later moved to Austin, Texas, where she met and married Stan Johnson. In 2005, Stan and Mary Beth bought a piece of property outside of Weimar, and a few years later, moved full time to the country.
After several years as the Weimar ISD Business Manager, Mary Beth retired to devote all of her time to her family, building a business, and enjoying the things she loved most.
In 2014, Mary Beth and Stan, along with her brother John and his wife Kari, opened Whistling Duck Winery, where she was instrumental in creating a friendly, loving environment where customers were treated like family.
Mary Beth was an avid reader and container gardener, and had a special love for plants and flowers, which anyone who spent time on her patio could see. She loved her “fur babies” – Jinx, Pepper, and Ammo, and her cats – Juice and Miss Tillie. Miss Tillie singlehandedly helped populate many barns and houses throughout Colorado County with kittens.
Mary Beth loved the country life and community that she and Stan built. She loved her large, extended family, which was why she encouraged and gently persuaded the majority of her siblings - as well as her mother and stepfather - to eventually move out to the Weimar countryside.
Visiting her daughter Erika in New York, wine tasting trips to Argentina, and touring the Czech Republic sparked Mary Beth’s passion for travel. She and Stan recently discovered a love for hopping in their RV and seeing various parts of the country. She cherished these trips with Stan and was always happy to get back home to her animals, her home, and her large family, living in the area.
In recent years, Mary Beth could often be found on her laptop in her recliner, keeping Amazon in business. The UPS and FedEx drivers enjoyed being greeted by Mary Beth’s smiling face when they delivered packages, which often contained arts and craft materials for projects she enjoyed working on in her “she-shed.”
Mary Beth’s love for the Lord and her relationship with Jesus was deeply personal and was truly manifested in the way she loved: her kindness and love for people flowed from her. When Mary Beth spoke with anyone, she had a gift for making them feel like they were the most important person in the world to her at that very moment. She was genuinely interested in people and had a profound impact on so many individuals.
Mary Beth is survived by her husband, Stan; her children, Dylan Harlow of Austin, Texas, and Erika Harlow of Brooklyn, New York; her stepchildren, Casey Johnson of Baltimore, Maryland, and Stephanie Mauldin and her husband Jason, of Leander, Texas; her siblings, Cynthia Smith and her husband Mike, Kathleen Schindler and her partner Pete Faris, Mark Cooke and his wife Mary, John Cooke and his wife Kari, and Patrick Cooke and his wife Sherrie; her stepbrothers, Cliff Brandt and his wife Young, Keith Brandt and his wife Tina, and Jason Brandt and his wife Jahnette. She is also survived by three grandchildren, Riley, Reece, and Remi Mauldin, as well as numerous nieces and nephews whom she loved dearly.
Mary Beth was preceded in death by her mother, Valeria Cooke Brandt, her father, Bill Cooke, and her stepfather, Melroy Brandt.
The family will receive visitors from 5 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, August 13, 2022, at Henneke Funeral Home at 1515 Montezuma St. in Columbus, Texas. A celebration of Mary Beth’s life will be held on October 8, 2022, at Whistling Duck Winery.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to Lucies Project, P.O. Box 325, Sheridan, Texas, 77475, or the charity of your choice.
Online condolences may be given at www.hennekefuneralhome.com.